Facebook pauses Giphy integration worldwide after UK launches antitrust investigation

Facebook pauses Giphy integration worldwide after UK launches antitrust investigation
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Facebook paused the integration of animated search engine Giphy into its services after United Kingdom regulators opened an antirust investigation into the recent acquisition, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Friday it was looking into whether Facebook's move "may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services."

The regulators submitted an official enforcement order on Tuesday.

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Australian regulators also opened an antitrust investigation into the deal earlier this week.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it is looking into whether the deal may give Facebook data that strengthens its market power or harms online messaging rivals — many of which use Giphy.

Facebook's roughly $400 million acquisition of Giphy has raised antitrust concerns in the U.S. as well.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing MORE (R-Mo.) said at the time that “Facebook wants Giphy so it can collect even more data on us."

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.) called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the deal.

Sarah Miller, director of the American Economic Liberties Project, called the deal "just the latest example of the Federal Trade Commission standing by while Facebook and Google centralize control over online communications."

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The FTC is currently investigating several large tech companies, including Facebook.

It also evaluating past mergers in the industry that did not trigger regulatory review at the time.

A spokesperson for Facebook told The Hill Friday that the company is "prepared to show regulators that this acquisition is positive for consumers, developers, and content creators alike.”